Food Trucks: Filling Up Plates in Sussex County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Food Trucks: Filling Up Plates in Sussex County

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LEWES, Del. - Hot dogs, crabs, and barbecue. 

The three meals are nothing new in Sussex County, but what is turning some heads is that now they are now being served more often from a kitchen on wheels. Portable food trucks, trailers, and stands are popping up in greater numbers throughout coastal Sussex County, and many of the owners told WBOC a county ordinance made it all possible. 

The ordinance, which passed in May, streamlined the process for food truck applicants. Before the change, setting up shop, even for something as small as a hot dog stand, required a Conditional Use Application. These applications, required multiple public hearings, months of waiting, and hundreds of dollars.

After passage of the ordinance, the applicant would only need permission from the Director of Planning and Zoning, along with a $100 fee. 

Phil Mantra, who owns a hot dog stand on the corner of Route 24 and Route One, in front of Nuttle Lumber Home Center, said he started his truck because of the ordinance change. 

"I would have been at home gardening," he said. "Or fighting with my wife."

Mantra, recently retired from New York, called the business "therapy" and "cheaper than a psychiatrist. He said that there were still multiple steps he needed to fulfill on the state-side, but he said the county process was simplified. 

"This ordinance change means they made the whole process a lot easier," he said.

Meanwhile on Savannah Road in Lewes, a Crab Food Truck opened up this season as well. Owner of the truck, Ricky Michaels said he first decided to take the plunge, after watching a WBOC story this Spring on the ordinance. He said he expected more food trucks to fill the county each year. 

"It's going to be a trend that's going to take off," he said. "And it's great. You can have - you can make money with a minimal investment compared to having a big building that you're paying $5,000 a month mortgage for. I have a $5,000 wagon."

The streamlined process only applies to trucks that are in one location, and so not those that are moving around. These trucks are also required to be seasonal, and not permanent structures. That means trucks like "Taco Reho" in Rehoboth Beach, would not fit into the streamlined process.

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